Geoff Dyer, writer in residence at the University of Southern California, is the author of four novels and nine works of nonfiction; his latest, The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand, will be published in 2018. Dyer’s Zona: A Book About a Film About a Journey to a Room is an examination of Tarkovsky’s Stalker.
Aleksandr Kajdanovsky, Alisa Frejndlikh, Anatoli Solonitsyn, Nikolai Grinko,
A sci-fi tale that unwinds in the environs of the soul takes the form of a nightmarish quest for nothing less than truth itself. In a plot employing the roughest outlines of a novel by Soviet sci-fi writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, a writer and a scientist follow a shaven-headed “stalker” into forbidden territory, a dangerous wilderness known as the Zone. Tarkovsky forces—or perhaps allows—“reality” to yield up abstract images of startling originality. His vision of landscape is nothing less than truly mystical—these are places to be found only in humankind’s spiritual Baedeker. On top of everything else, Tarkovsky was a director who truly grasped the aesthetic power of color, and this unforgettable pilgrimage is bathed in eerie sepia hues.